MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new sport is making its Olympic debut next summer in Tokyo: three-on-three basketball.
A tournament Saturday in Blaine was part of the process of choosing Team USA.
Brensley Haywood’s team is from Minneapolis and has been playing three-on-three basketball tournaments together a long time.
“We’ve been traveling all over the world,” Haywood said.
But the chance to earn a spot doing it in the Olympics?
“That’s always something you think about as a kid,” he said. “You represent your country, have your country on your chest, and the whole world’s watching. You see, like, Michael Phelps. I’m a little older, so Dominique Dawes and stuff like that– you see those guys representing the United States. You say, ‘Hey, it’d be cool if it could be me.'”
It’s a partnership between USA basketball and Red Bull– a national tournament to identify Team USA, both women’s and men’s teams.
The Blaine qualifier is one of more than 20 across the country. The winner at each qualifier will advance to the regionals, then those winners are off to nationals.
Nationals will be used to select eight female and eight male players to represent Team USA in Tokyo.
Haywood’s team is really good. It’s clear there’s a lot of talent here. And for the chance to take that talent from Minnesota to Tokyo? They’ll give it their best shot.
“We said, you know what, let’s travel all around and do it so we can get qualified for the Olypics,” _____ said. “So I think it’s a great thing for the United States, whoever gets to go.”